The Spirit of Jesus
TAKEN FROM HOLY COMMUNION
by St. Peter Julian Eymard
Imprimi Potest, Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1940
Qui adhaeret Domino, unus spiritus est.
But he who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit.
(1 Cor. 6:17.)
IF WE examine ourselves carefully, we find that nature reasserts itself at the slightest opportunity and tries to rule us. Our mind is constantly inclined to yield to the activities, the frivolity, and the curiosity which are natural to it, our heart, to its own preferences and human affections. Our will, so impetuous in everything it does by choice and by impulse, follows languidly the inspirations of God. Our whole soul, but lately calm and recollected in holy meditation, loses its recollection in an instant and no longer thinks of God. In our relations with others, we forget God. Such is this nature of ours which, far from being dead, is neither conquered nor even well controlled, and which at every moment gets out of hand.
Alas, our spiritual life is a tree without roots! We are like hot-house plants which wither or freeze if moved outdoors. This indicates that our inner life is forced and artificial; it is alive when warmed by the fire of prayer, but icy cold as soon as we are left to ourselves or go about our outside occupations.
What causes this?
THERE are two causes. The first is that, apart from prayer, we draw no spiritual nourishment from what we are doing. When we study, it is not from devotion, but from zeal, from natural diligence. We make intercourse with others a distraction instead of finding therein an opportunity to work for God. Consequently, our various occupations are like a fever which weakens us and consumes us.
Certainly we must work, but, at the same time, our spirit must find nourishment in the virtue of our labor. We must do our work with recollection in God, see in it the accomplishment of God's plan, keep ourselves in His holy will, and say before every action: "I am doing this to give glory to God."
The second cause is this: we lack a spiritual center to which we may retire to recruit our spent forces, restoring them in proportion as we use them up. Our life flows on like a torrent, all rushing sound and movement.
The thought of God's presence, or of His will, or of His glory, or of some mystery or virtue should be habitual to us. In short, we should live in awareness of Jesus Christ, beneath His eye, by His inspiration, just as He lived in union with His Father. Hoc sentite in vobis quod et in Christo Jesu. 1 ---- "For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
BOTH in His words and His actions, this union of Jesus with His Father is manifested.
In His words, "I have not spoken of Myself." ---- Ex meipso non sum locutus. 2 "All things whatsoever I have heard of My Father, I have made known unto you." Quaecumque audivi a Patre meo, nota feci vobis. 3 Thus our Lord says nothing of Himself. He listens to the Father, consults Him, and then faithfully repeats His Divine answer, without adding or subtracting anything. He is only the Word of the Father, Verbum Dei. 4 He repeats His words with respect, because they are holy; with love, because they are a gift of His goodness; with power, because they are to sanctify the world, remake it in the light of truth, revive it in the fire of love, and one day pronounce judgment on it.
For this reason the words of Jesus were the breath of life. They warmed with a mysterious fire: Nonne cor nostrum ardens erat in nobis dum loqueretur? 5 ---- "Was not our heart burning within us, whilst He spoke?" They were all-powerful: Si ... verba mea in vobis manserint, quodcumque volueritis petetis, et fiet vobis. 6 ---- "If ... My words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you." Like rays of light from the sun, so the words of Jesus proceeded from Him to dispel interior darkness: Ego sum lux mundi. 7 ---- "I am the light of the world."
Now that is what we must be to all men, verbum Christi, the word of Jesus Christ, just as the Apostles were, and the first Christians; the Holy Ghost spoke through them to the heathen. Saint Paul enjoined that on the faithful: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly." ---- Verbum Christi habitet in vobis abundanter. 8
So we must! listen to the words Jesus speaks to us within our soul. We must comprehend and repeat His inner words. We must hear them with faith, receive them with respect and love, impart them with fidelity and confidence, with sweetness and power. Alas! Up to the present time we have rarely been inspired by the words of Jesus, but often by our self-love and natural affections. Thus our words have been fruitless, ill-advised, and frequently blameworthy.
THE Heavenly Father inspired all our Lord's actions and regulated even their smallest details. A meipso facio nihil. 9 ---- "I do nothing of Myself," said the Savior. Our Lord fulfilled His Father's will in every jot and tittle.
And so, that is the duty of a true servant of Jesus Christ; that is the duty of a soul which receives Him and is nourished with Him so often.
And is it not even now a great honor to have Jesus for my Master, to see Him condescend to direct me in all my ways and give me the inspiration for even the slightest of my actions? Why do not I, who am His apprentice, do what He does in the way He does it and in the intention with which He does it? Ah, if we acted thus we should have peace, liberty, union with God! We should not be taken up with what we are doing, but even in our labors remain in Jesus. We should think of nothing but what our Lord wills and only so long as He wills it, like the servant to whom is said: "Go," and he
goes, "Come," and he comes.
But for this a change is necessary in government, leadership, and principle. There must be a revolution in our life, a complete revolution that will put in chains and mortify the old Adam; in short we shall have to leave the direction of our life to our Lord and rest content to obey Him.
That is why He enters into us. Unless we make this sacrifice of our faculties, our will, and our activity, Jesus will not really live in us. Our actions will still be ours, with but little merit: we shall be united to our Lord by means of habitual grace, but not by love that is real, living, powerful; we shall not be able to repeat these words with truth and in all their depth of meaning: "And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me." ---- Vivo jam non ego, vivit vero in me Christus. 10
1. Phil. 2:5.
2. John 12:49.
3. John 15:15.
4. Apoc. 19:13.
5. Luke 24:32.
6. John 15:7.
7. John 8:12.
8. Col. 3:16.
9. John 8:28:
10. Gal. 2:20.